Intersectional Discrimination in European Labour Markets in the Voices of TCN Women




TCN women, intersectionality, Labour integration


Despite migration being a universal and secular phenomenon, recent studies and latest statistics show that unemployment among third-country nationals aged between 15 and 64 years old is generally higher than the rate among the overall population (76% among newcomers). Within this context, the current study aims to find out common patterns concerning the barriers that Third Country National (TCN) Women face in the host labour market and facilitating factors they used to cross them. The  current research is supported by a qualitative methodology, based on 74 interviews to women from nine European countries and the analysis of 11 success stories. The interviewees have a very heterogeneous sociodemographic profile, concerning age, country of origin, host country and educational background. Despite some TCN women being employed, most are currently unemployed or in precarious condition. Our study proposes a four-fold categorisation of barriers faced by TCN women: i) cultural and linguistic; ii) diplomas; iii) support system; iv) discrimination. The lack of language skills was mentioned by almost all the women interviewed because free or easily affordable courses are limited.The second category of barriers entails the complexity of recognising academic qualifications and working experience from their home countries. The lack of a supporting system has impact in different dimensions of social and professional inclusion. The last category represents a large number of dimensions, related to an intersectional discrimination based on gender, race and religion. Regarding the facilitating factors that 11 women with integration success stories shared, we would highlight: i) the role and importance of Social and Solidarity migrant organisations as a support for TCN women; ii) the recognition the added-value of TCN women skills, such as being proficient in several foreign languages; iii) the empowerment of success stories reported by the storyteller herself and by other women in a similar situation; iv) the resilience to not give up, despite a considerable  amount of obstacles.